The manuscript . . .

The manuscript for my commentary, Reading Paul’s Letters to Individuals: A Literary and Theological Commentary on the Letters to Philemon, Titus, and Timothy, is officially in the mail to Smyth and Helwys.

S&H expects the commentary to be available in October, just in time for SBL. Maybe I’ll need to go to Boston after all.

This is the commentary that Glenn Hinson was supposed to write, then Marty Soards. Both ended up not filling the contract. Then Hulitt Gloer wrote a manuscript, but was not able to finish it for health reasons.

So in January–you may recall–the editor of the series, Charles Talbert (who was my doctorfather at Baylor) asked if I could finish Gloer’s manuscript.  And I’ve spent the last few months doing so.

I’d originally hoped to have 300 – 325 double spaced pages, and ended up with 425: OUCH! Did I type all that stuff?

What’s innovative or fresh about the commentary? Two things, off the top of my head:

First, it is a scholarly commentary, interacting extensively with primary sources (Philo and Josephus, especially) and cutting-edge secondary sources (e.g., Bruce Winter’s work on the new Roman woman), BUT the exposition is aimed at preachers and teachers. This would be the first commentary I would recommend for people who want to preach these letters.

Second, this is the first commentary on the Pastorals to take into account the role that succession plays in these letters.

Westcott & Hort Outline First Timothy

When Westcott & Hort published their edition of the Greek New Testament in 1881, they also released (in $amz(159244198X a second volume)) a 300+ page Introduction discussing their text-critical principles (the volume also has 200+ pages of appendix, equaling 600+ pages of goodness). That introduction also discusses in some detail the typesetting of the edition in Section E, “Punctuation, Divisions of text, and Titles of books” (§§417-423, pp. 318-322).


[[NB: I’ve discussed the introduction on my other blog, ricoblog. The Intro/Appendix is available from Google Books if you’d like to check it out.]]


In the introduction (§419, p. 319) they discuss how they encode what is essentially a discourse-level hierarchy (sentence level and above) into the text using paragraph formatting, casing, and spacing.


Have you ever wondered why (if using a printed WH or an electronic edition with proper casing/punctuation) some paragraphs/sections begin with words in ALLCAPS; why sometimes there is vertical space before a new paragraph, and most of all why there are these long spaces (over a centimeter!) within paragraphs? And why sometimes sentences start with a capitalized letter, and others do not?


Well, you’ve stumbled onto WH’s typography/casing/spacing based outline of the text without knowing it. Here are the basics:



Major Section: vertical white space above, headed by word in CAPS
Section: vertical white space above, no initial CAP WORD
Paragraph: Newline with indentation
subparagraph: full stop followed by large amount of horizontal whitespace
UC-initial sentence: “Groups of sentences introduced by a capital bear the same relation to subparagraphs as subparagraphs to paragraphs”
lc-initial sentence: When a lower-case initial word starts a sentence. lowest punctuated unit; grammar dictates structure within the sentence unit.


Following this, I’ve examined a printed edition of WH and distilled the outline to First Timothy, which is below. I’ve only gone through this once (and that was hasty) so there may very well be some errors. Also note that the hierarchy I’ve implied is based on containing references; WH’s typography/casing/spacing does not imply a strict heirarchy (see Matthew). Also, dialogue in Greek NT’s typically begins with a sentence-initial cap; I’ve yet to determine how that would mesh with the encoded structure, largely because no such dialogue exists in First Timothy. That said, here’s the outline. Notable is how $esv(1Ti 3.1a) is handled, and also $esv(1Ti 6.2b).



1.1-6.22: Major section headed by ΠΑΥΛΟΣ

1.1-2: Paragraph
      1.1-2: UC-initial sentence

1.3-20: Paragraph
   1.3-7: subparagraph, UC-initial (single sentence)
   1.8-11: subparagraph, UC-initial (single sentence)
   1.12-17: subparagraph
      1.12-16: UC-initial sentence
      1.17: UC-initial sentence
   1.18-20: subparagraph, UC-initial (single sentence)

2.1-3.16: Paragraph
   2.1-7: subparagraph, UC-initial
      2.1-4: UC-initial sentence group
         2.1-2: UC-initial sentence
         2.3-4: lc-initial sentence
      2.5-7: UC-initial sentence
   2.8-3.1a: subparagraph, UC-initial
      2.8: UC-initial sentence
      2.9-10: UC-initial sentence
      2.11-12: UC-initial sentence
      2.13-3.1a: UC-initial sentence group
         2.13-15: UC-initial sentence
         3.1a: lc-initial sentence
   3.1b-13: subparagraph, UC-initial
      3.1b-7: UC-initial sentence group
         3.1b: UC-initial sentence
         3.2-6: lc-initial sentence
      3.8-13: UC-initial sentence group
         3.8: UC-initial sentence
         3.9-11: lc-initial sentence
         3.12-13: lc-initial sentence
   3.14-16: subparagraph, UC-initial
      3.14-16a: UC-initial sentence
         3.16b: metrically arranged

4.1-10: Paragraph
   4.1-5: subparagraph, UC-initial
      4.1-5: UC-initial sentence group
         4.1-3: UC-initial sentence
         4.4-5: lc-initial sentence
   4.6-10: subparagraph, UC-initial
      4.6-10: UC-initial sentence group
         4.6-7: UC-initial sentence
         4.8: lc-initial sentence
         4.9-10: lc-initial sentence

4.11-16: Paragraph
      4.11-16: UC-initial sentence group
         4.11-12: UC-initial sentence
         4.13: lc-initial sentence
         4.14: lc-initial sentence
         4.14-16: lc-initial sentence

5.1-6.2: Paragraph
   5.1-16: subparagraph, UC-initial
      5.1-2: UC-initial sentence
      5.3-8: UC-initial sentence
      5.9-13: UC-initial sentence group
         5.9-10: UC-initial sentence
         5.11-13: lc-initial sentence
      5.14-16: UC-initial sentence group
         5.14-15: UC-initial sentence
         5.16: lc-initial sentence
   5.17-25: subparagraph, UC-initial
      5.17-20: UC-initial sentence group
         5.17-18: UC-initial sentence
         5.19-20: lc-initial sentence
      5.21: UC-initial sentence
      5.22: UC-initial sentence
      5.23: UC-initial sentence
      5.24-25: UC-initial sentence
   6.1-2a: subparagraph, UC-initial
      6.1-2a: UC-initial sentence group
         6.1: UC-initial sentence
         6.2-2a: lc-initial sentence

6.2b-6.21a: Paragraph
   6.2b-10: subparagraph, UC-initial
      6.2b-10: UC-initial sentence group
         6.2b-5: UC-initial sentence
         6.6-8: lc-initial sentence
         6.9-10: lc-initial sentence
   6.11-16: subparagraph, UC-initial
      6.11-16: UC-initial sentence group
         6.11: UC-initial sentence
         6.12: lc-initial sentence
         6.13-16: lc-initial sentence
   6.17-19: subparagraph, UC-initial
      6.17-19: UC-initial sentence
   6.20-21a: subparagraph, UC-initial
      6.20-21a: UC-initial sentence

6.21b: Paragraph
      6.21b: UC-initial sentence

First Pass on First Timothy Complete

Since Perry has been giving some updates on his writing endeavors, I figured I’d update too since I recently hit a milestone.

If you know me, you know I’ve been working on my writing project, in my free time, for (I think) five years now. The working title, as of right now, is Word Studies in Context: First Timothy.

Basically, I’ve been working through First Timothy, phrase by phrase, looking at similar-sense word usage (as indicated by lexicons like BDAG, LSJ, Louw-Nida, TDNT) in the Pastorals, in the Epistles, and in the NT; but also in the LXX, Apostolic Fathers, Josephus, Philo, Pseudepigrapha and some other stuff (Papyri, Corpus Hermiticum, even stuff like the third century "Life of Polycarp" in a few instances) to determine/further understand how words and concepts are used in First Timothy.

The idea has always been to lay the groundwork for further study, likely a discourse analysis of First Timothy. I’m not done with the word level portion (I have much revision to do, I need to rewrite the intro and first chapter, and I have literally hundreds of handwritten notes in a kinkos-bound draft of chapters 1-5 to review and integrate).

But it is a big step. The PDF is 464 pages — not double spaced but with wide margins for notes and edits (if/when I print it out). The paper is 8.5×11, but the text would fit in a relatively standard sized book page. An earlier sample (10 pages covering 1Ti 5.17-19) is available if you’re interested in peeking.

When will I finish? I don’t know. But getting through the first pass (some portions are much more polished than other portions) is a big deal, at least to me. Chances are I’ll start digging into discourse issues before I completely finish tweaking/rewriting the word studies portion.

Why does it take so long? Well, since I’ve started I’ve met, courted and married the woman I love; and we’ve started a family (our daughter is nine months old!). These things take time and rightly upstage the writing project. But my wife is a saint and, by the grace of God, understands and encourages me in the writing project, so it will continue. And hopefully, sometime in the next few years, it’ll be at a state where it can be further shared or perhaps even self-published. If the sample interests you, let me know!

I’m Back!!

After some time away, I’m working in the Pastorals again.  Here’s a rather disjointed series of thoughts on what I’m doing.

The time away: last spring, I was named the Dean of the Sack School of Bible and Ministry at Kentucky Christian University, the school where I’ve taught for five years.  Administration has left me with almost no time to write, especially since our Youth and Family Ministries professor left without warning in June.

Writing again: my doktorvater, Charles Talbert, has invited me to finish the commentary on the Pastorals and Philemon in the Smyth and Helwys Reading the New Testament series.  This particular volume, which will be published under the title Reading Paul’s Letters to Individuals, has a checkered past.  Several NT scholars have had the contract at one time or another.  I’ll be completing work that Hulit Gloer was not able to finish due to health reasons.

My deadline: 4 July, which is growing nearer every day.

How it’s going: I made the mistake, when I first started writing, of trying to tackle Philemon first.  But I don’t know Philemon as well as I know the PE, so I’ve gotten a bit bogged down.  So I’ve started writing on the PE again.

Little projects that make up the big project:

  • In April, I’ll be presenting a paper at the Stone Campbell Journal conference, at Cincinnati Christian University.  The paper will deal with 1 Timothy 2.
  • The commentary will build on the reading of the PE from my monograph, Leadership Succession, and on the papers that I’ve read at SBL in Philadelphia (a narrative reading of the PE, using Aristotle’s Poetics as my primary lens) and Washington.
  • In the commentary, I will treat the letters in the order Titus – 1 Timothy – 2 Timothy – Philemon.

More on P.Tebt. 703

I blogged about this now nearly a month ago; in the end of the post I wrote:



I’d thought I would have to instead find the 1933 Tebtunis volume in a library somewhere, but this is so much better. I had to blog it quick; first so I could find the reference easily when I really want it later on; and secondly so y’all could be aware of it.


In the meantime, a friend went up to the library at Trinity Western, and he retrieved the information on P.Tebt 703 from the printed edition for me. I thought it would be 10 pages at most, consisting mainly of transcription and translation.


I was wrong.


The information on P.Tebt 703 runs for 36 pages. There are seven pages of background and discussion, followed by a six-part table of contents (!) before the transcription begins. Following the transcription is the standard translation/notes section that runs for 20 pages!


While there are some similarities in content between P.Tebt 703 and First Timothy and Titus, I think the jury is still out on them sharing genre. But if you’re looking to study this, the information in the Tebtunis Papyri, Vol 3 Part 1, for P.Tebt 703, is well worth looking up and studying.

First Timothy and P.Tebt. 703

If you read many recent commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles (particularly Witherington, though Johnson and probably Towner and Marshall), and if you have read the section on First Timothy in Carson’s New Testament Introduction and also in Frank Theilman’s New Testament Theology, you’ve heard of P.Tebt. 703.


P.Tebt. 703 is one of the Tebtunis Papyri. It is a letter dated “after 208 BC”. It is described as:



Copy of an official memorandum probably from the dioiketes to probably the oikonomos, giving instructions concerning agriculture, transport, royal revenues and monopolies, official correspondence, and behavior of royal officials.


Many folks look to P.Tebt. 703 as an example of a superior writing instructions to his lieutenant concerning administration of an area/group and see similarities with what Paul is writing to Timothy in First Timothy (and, similarly what Paul writes to Titus in the epistle to Titus).


I’ve been looking for a full translation of P.Tebt. 703 for a few days (well, thinking about looking) and this morning I finally remembered that I could hit APIS (Advanced Papyrological Information System) and probably find it pretty quickly. It’s better than I’d thought. The APIS entry has images, verso and recto, of all the extant leaves of the letter along with summary description and translation.


I’d thought I would have to instead find the 1933 Tebtunis volume in a library somewhere, but this is so much better. I had to blog it quick; first so I could find the reference easily when I really want it later on; and secondly so y’all could be aware of it.

Epictetus and the Pastoral Epistles

I happened across a book titled Epictetus and the New Testament by one Douglas Simmonds Sharp, published in 1914. The only copy I found was in Logos Bible Software’s SeminaryLibrary.com. Actually, there is a copy in Google Books, but for some unknown reason it has restricted access (even though it was published in 1914). Anyway, on pp. 74-75, the following like word usages are listed: εμπλεκω and επιπλησσω. Here’s the image I cropped from the book; I don’t really have time to retype it (apologies for that):



Sharp, Douglas Simmonds. Epictetus and the New Testament. London: C. H. Kelly, 1914. pp. 74-75.

I include it here because I thought it might be interesting to some; also because it serves as a mental note to evaluate at a later point when I do further work on similarities between the Pastorals and other contemporary literature (e.g. the Apostolic Fathers)

First Timothy Was Written To Timothy

[[NB: I blogged briefly about this in December 2006 with Who were the Pastoral Epistles written to? though I made no conclusions there.]]


That may not seem like much of a headline, but it’s the conclusion I’ve come to after reading three articles by Jeffrey T. Reed:



Reed, Jeffrey T. “Cohesive Ties in 1 Timothy: In Defense of the Epistle’s Unity”, Neotestamentica 26/1: 192-213. 1992.


—– “To Timothy or Not? A Discourse Analysis of 1 Timothy” in S.E. Porter and D.A. Carson (eds.) Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics: Open Questions in Current Research (JSNTSup 80; Sheffield: JSOT Press): 90-118. 1993.


—– “Discourse Features in New Testament Letters, with Special Reference to the structure of 1 Timothy”, Journal of Translation and Textlinguistics 6: 228-52. 1993.


There are two basic options when one considers intended audience of First Timothy: Timothy (as the letter states) or the Ephesian church. If you would’ve asked me two or three years ago, I’d have told you that I thought that First Timothy, though explicitly addressed to Timothy, was really intended for the Ephesian church and was primarily a way for Paul to disseminate information about church structure and the like. This is the same way that Dibelius and Conzelmann (Hermeneia) approach First Timothy; as well as Barrett, Hanson, and Spicq (If I’m understanding Reed 1993a, p. 91 note 2 properly).


But in reading Reed’s stuff (particularly 1993a, though the others have things to say about it) I’m convinced otherwise. Why? The short list:



  • There are no second person plural verbs in First Timothy.

  • There is only one second person plural pronoun in First Timothy, and that is Paul’s somewhat formulaic end of “Grace be with you (pl.)”

  • The Ephesian church is not a named participant within the text of the letter.

  • The second person singular verbs logically resolve to Timothy as subject.

  • The first person singular verbs logically resolve to Paul as subject, and typically occur in exhortations to the addressee (Timothy).

In other words, I really do think that First Timothy is a personal letter, both in structure/address and in reality. Paul wrote the letter to Timothy to tell him to do things, and provided some background for those things. Would others have benefitted from reading the letter? Sure; there is stuff in there that would benefit, say, elders of the church. But the only one who would benefit or receive instruction from the whole of the letter is Timothy.


If you’re wondering about all of this, or if you’re unconvinced, I’d recommend Reed 1993a above (“To Timothy or Not?”).

The Pastoral Epistles in Ignatius, Part III

[This post is part of a series on The Pastoral Epistles in the Apostolic Fathers. RWB]


Ign. Rom. 9.2 || 1Ti 1.13



(2) ἐγὼ δὲ αἰσχύνομαι ἐξ αὐτῶν λέγεσθαι· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἄξιός εἰμι, ὢν ἔσχατος αὐτῶν καὶ ἔκτρωμα· ἀλλʼ ἠλέημαί τις εἶναι, ἐὰν θεοῦ ἐπιτύχω.
(2) But I myself am ashamed to be counted among them, for I am not worthy, since I am the very last of them and an abnormality. But I have been granted the mercy to be someone, if I reach God.
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (174, 175). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.


13 τὸ πρότερον ὄντα βλάσφημον καὶ διώκτην καὶ ὑβριστήν, ἀλλὰ ἠλεήθην, ὅτι ἀγνοῶν ἐποίησα ἐν ἀπιστίᾳ· (1Ti 1.13, NA27)
13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent, insolent man. But I was shown mercy, because I acted unknowingly in unbelief. (1Ti 1.13, my own translation)


The contact in this instance is slight. A relatively common word (ελεεω, 24x in NT, 16x in AF)* in common syntactic context. The syntactic context is the contrasting use of ἀλλὰ. In both situations, “but I was shown/granted mercy” i used to explain the previous statement.


In Ign. Rom., the previous statement has to do with Ignatius’ unworthiness of Christ. In what is perhaps a bit of faux humility, Ignatius pleads that he is not worthy to be counted among the church in Syria because he is an ‘abnormality’. This actually has more similarity with another area of Paul’s writing (particularly in the use of ἔκτρωμα, an NT hapax that only occurs here in the AF), 1Co 15.8-10 where Paul uses the same word in the same sort of argument. After establishing his unworthiness, Ignatius proceeds to contrast his unworthiness with the statement that, in spite of his unworthiness, he has been given mercy.


This basic idea is very similar to what is happening in First Timothy. Paul establishes his unworthiness to be a servant of Christ by appealing to his former life, where he was a self-described blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent and insolent man. In Paul’s eyes these are disqualifications for the service of Christ. But, says Paul, he was provided mercy. The contrasting use of the provision of mercy in spite of professed unworthiness is what echoes back to First Timothy.


Based on the similar contexts and usage (these two instances are the only instances in NT and AF of κατα + ελεεω), it seems as if Ignatius betrays knowledge of this area of First Timothy (and also First Corinthians) in his argumentation. This is not a loose quotation or even really an allusion. It does, however, seem feasible that Ignatius is making loose references to a few different Pauline thoughts in this one statement.


Next up: Ign. Smyrn. 4.2 || 1Ti 1.12





*The NT is approximately 2.5-3x the size of the AF corpus, so we can see that ελεεω is actually more common in the AF corpus if one compares frequency (24/138019 in NT, 16/~55000 in AF). Ignatius uses the word 6x in his letters, but three of those instances are in prologues (Rom, Phld, Smyrn).

Patrologia Graeca Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles

One of the cool things about Luke Timothy Johnson’s Anchor Bible commentary on 1 & 2 Timothy is his inclusion of volume/column references to Patrologia Graeca where commentary on the Pastorals is discussed. This list is his (as are the dates associated with each commentator) though I’ve added volume/column references to include commentary on Titus.


Each of these commentaries is in Greek; many have a parallel Latin column. Most importantly for my purposes, each contains the text of the epistles commented upon.


Patristic Commentaries


Chrysostom (347-407)



  • First Timothy: PG 62:501-599
  • Second Timothy: PG 62:599-662
  • Titus: PG 663-700

Theodoret of Cyr (393-466)



  • First Timothy: PG 82:787-830
  • Second Timothy: PG 82:831-858
  • Titus: PG 82:858-871

John of Damascus (675-749)



  • First Timothy: PG 95:997-1016
  • Second Timothy: PG 95:1016-1026
  • Titus: 95:1026-1030

Medieval Commentaries


Oecomenius of Tricca (10th century)



  • First Timothy: PG 119:133-196
  • Second Timothy: PG 119:195-240
  • Titus: PG 119:242-261

Theophylact of Bulgaria (11th century)



  • First Timothy: PG 125:9-87
  • Second Timothy: PG 125:87-140
  • Titus: PG 125:142-170

If you’re not near a library where you can access PG’s 161 volumes, you may be interested in RelTech’s image edition of Migne’s Patrologia Graeca.